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Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Latest ONI World Wide Threat to Shipping (to 21 Dec 2005)

For the latest ONI WWTS go here and click on the date. Highlight:
1. INDONESIA: Chemical tanker (STEADFAST) suspected
hijacked as of 19 Dec while enroute from Palembang, Indonesia to
Singapore. An IMB special alert dated 20 Dec reports the tanker
lost contact with their vessel as of 19 Dec. The tanker departed
Palembang, Indonesia for Singapore on 18 Dec laden with 16,585
MT of vegetable oil. Vessel’s last known location reported by the
owner was 02:20N 106:41E at 0530 UTC on 19 Dec. ONI Comment:
In April of this year, pirates boarded a general cargo ship laden
with tin ingot in Indonesian waters, forced the crew to take the
vessel to a port in Malaysia and offload the cargo before returning
to Indonesian waters and releasing the vessel and crew unharmed.
The cargo was later found intact by Malaysian authorities in the
same location it was offloaded. In July, pirates boarded a tug and
barge while awaiting berth in a port in Malaysia and siphoned
approximately 3,500 MT of crude palm oil into another product
tanker. The Malaysian Marine Police found the product tanker and
arrested the crew while the Indonesian Navy Pursuit Team arrested
five individuals believed to have perpetrated the theft. In
September, a general cargo vessel laden with 660 tons of tin ingot
was boarded by pirates while underway off Indonesia. The 14
crewmembers were set adrift in a fishing boat and laded safely on
land. The vessel was later discovered sunk not far from where it
was hijacked and salvage divers assessed the cargo to be intact.
These incidents appear to represent a form of piracy not reported
since China’s crackdown on black-market activity starting in 1998,
wherein a ship is targeted for seizure at its load port and the
cargo is taken to some destination where arrangements for disposal
have already been concluded. The complexity of the operation
suggests transnational players at the ship selection and cargo-
disposal ends of the operation. In these types of cases, crew and
ship owner complicity must be considered, since they have no
immediate financial interest in the cargo, per se. Since the
crackdown on the illegal Chinese markets, hijackers have experienced
difficulty disposing of their cargos. If the STEADFAST is indeed
hijacked and is not rapidly located and its cargo recovered, or
traced, this could be a sign that criminal gangs have solved their
problem with disposal of stolen goods
My earlier report on the Steadfast here, on the "palm oil" tanker here, on one of the "tin" ships here and a report that includes more information on the "sunken" tin ship here.

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